Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Etiquette and manners are Important

I had an experience this weekend that left me thinking very much about manners and etiquette.  I'm a pretty laid back and easy going kind of woman.  Don't get me wrong...I have a temper (I am after all a Taurus) and can use it to my advantage and in self defense when necessary.  But  I don't like a lot of struggle, strife or drama.  Having been young and foolish I've been there, done that, it's not pretty.  For the first time ever in all my flea market jaunts I had a vendor verbally accost me this past weekend and I'm still not sure why.  I tend to think that maybe after he quoted me a price on an item and I put it back as I didn't want to spend that kind of money, it put him into defensive mode and he went on the attack.  As though maybe my saying, oh, okay and putting the item back somehow offended him.  It infuriated me to be treated like this and I knew I didn't deserve it but I maintained my cool (meaning I didn't open my mouth and let out what I would have liked to say) and walked away.  But it put a bit of a damper on my usual excitement of being at one of my favorite flea markets.

As a businesswoman I know that I have never and would never, talk to a customer as did this man.  I like to think that my mother raised me well and that I have good manners.  And I try to treat people as I myself would like to be treated.  Unfortunately one of my buttons that is easily pushed is mannerless people. 

 What is all this leading up to you ask?  Well I think that it is just as important to have manners on the internet as it is in real life.  When you are intereacting with someone online it is important to remember that there is a real person with feelings at the end of that email, or that forum or group comment.  Sadly I have visited some forums, heard stories from other artists and even  been on the receiving end of a couple emails, that for all purposes contained comments that were rude, mannerless and totally uncalled for.  I am reprinting a post that Pam wrote about making an online class a success for the attendee and includes having manners and good etiquette.  I thought she made good and valid points that we all need to remember. 

Reprinted with Permission by Pam Carriker

Making an online class a successful experience requires effort from both the instructor and the student. This form of learning is becoming ever more popular because it allows a more affordable and doable opportunity to learn with a variety of artists from the comfort of your own home when it’s convenient in your schedule. That being said, it is different than taking a live workshop. You may have to wait a bit for an answer to a question as the instructors can’t monitor the computer 24/7, but you also have the advantage of going back over materials as often as you like. With a live venue you have one shot to get the materials and then you’re on your own. Weigh the pros and the cons for yourself to see what’s a better fit for you.

Here are some tips to help make your experience more rewarding to you and those participating with you.

1. Choose a class from an artist whose work you are drawn to. Read the class description, check out the supply list, ask other attendees for feedback, and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

2. Go into the class with an open mind and absorb the materials with an intent to learn the techniques and apply them to your style of art. In general classes aren’t a ‘paint by number’ deal. They are for gaining new tools to implement in your own creative way. A class is a jumping off point, not the end of the road.

3. Remember that every teacher has their own style of teaching. Not every class will be a fit for every participant. If you find a teachers style isn’t a fit for you, you may want to find a different teacher for your next experience. It’s ok, we all learn differently.

4. Be courteous. Just because there is no face to face interaction, what you say and do does affect other people. Negativity hampers creativity.

5. If you do find you have a problem direct it to the teacher first. Taking it to the class as a whole does not benefit anyone and can cause a negative atmosphere that no one signed up for. Everyone comes to class with the intent to learn and have fun. Don’t ruin that for others. I don’t know of any artists who teach that wouldn’t bend over backwards to help one of their participants get the most out of their workshop.

6. Remember that as instructors we work very hard to pull together classes that are informative and teach our techniques in the best way we are able. We aren’t perfect but are perfectly willing to share our creative process with others. Most of us were asked to share our techniques and it makes us a bit vulnerable to put them out there. It’s not just about money, we share from our creative hearts and when we see others grow artistically and go forward with more confidence that’s the true reward.
7. Treat others like you would like to be treated. Simple but true:-)
live art at the speed of life,

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Jenny S said...

Yipes! I hope it was not at our shop, but at the flea market! I am sorry I missed you on Thursday or Friday when you came by. My little one is on Sprnig Break, so I have a week off from the shop!! WOOHOO!!

Diva Kreszl said...

such a great post today, sadly we are becoming a society void of manners and etiquette. I always stressed politenes to my children and insisted they treat people with respect. I find that today parents wonder why their children are rude and then I witness the parents behaving the same way. You had amazing restaint with that vendor, I'm a Taurus too and my new approach to rudeness is to kill them with kindness!

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I have heard several stories recently from people who have received unpleasant emails or blog comments. I also just heard a story of a person who gave somebody's shop a bad rating because of an issue that would have been EASILY resolved if they had just let the vendor KNOW about it. It took the (new) artist's rating from 100% to 84% in one fell swoop!

I don't understand such things. There is no question - I'm not a formal sort, and my posts and emails and comments are often irreverent, snide, or cynical - but, hopefully, never ever insulting or offensive!

People who do this sort of thing IMO are the same people who berate waiters and checkout clerks and hotel personnel. Perhaps they just need to throw their weight around - and spread a little venom - to feel their opinions and feelings are worthy of notice, because they receive so little of it in real life.

Anyway. Good post. Thanks for it. We can all use it to our advantage.

Now I'm off to yell at the housekeeper to get this %^&$!%# rug vacuumed now.

slommler said...

So true Gail and Pam!! What was the old saying our mothers' taught us. "If you can't say anything nice; don't say anything at all!" I'm just saying....!
Sorry that guy went off on you. Guess he was having a bad day?

LuLu Kellogg said...

I have one word, "Amen"....Gail, I have to tell you that nothing turns me off more than bad manners and rudeness. I shudder at some of the behavior I see every day in public and on the internet. All I can say to myself is bless their hearts...they just were not raised properly or they don't care. I always treat everyone the way I want to be treated. I am so glad you posted this. I do believe that vendor that was unkind to you must have had someone wee in his cornflakes that morning!


Terri said...

There was an e-mail going around perhaps you got it..about people being like garbage trucks...all pent up intide and then they unload their garbage on some one.
So I hope you don't take it personally what happened at the flea market...it was just his time to unload. Not justifing the bad behavoir just looking for the possible reason.
Great tips on on line classes too.
have a supper week!

Lesley said...

Good morning from the UK. I just wanted to say that I completely agree with your views on good manners. I firmly believe that if everyone treated other people as they would wish to be treated themselves, then this world would be a much happier place Blessings Lesley

Nita Jo said...

Gail, I hope people get the message. You presented it in such a great way. Thanks to Pam C. for allowing you to reprint her thoughts.

It does seem that manners take a back seat sometimes. One phrase I'm fond of... when you find you have messed up (maybe that's just me, but I doubt it), is to use those two special words... "I'm sorry"... They go a long way to make up for a bad mood slip-up.

I don't always comment when I visit, but I always enjoy your blog! Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

Stephanie Mealor Corder said...

I'm so glad you posted this; etiquette AND manners are so important and they seem to be becoming a thing of the past.....as a fellow southerner, I KNOW my parents raised me to be thougtful and polite- actually almost too much of both, but as an adult I'm learned to be assertive without being overly agressive. It's so nice to see that others still value these basic but important character traits!

Liz Miller CDA said...

Unfortunately there is always someone out there ready to be a roll model of how you don't want to treat others. However, politeness gets you further in life and makes life much more pleasant. Pam's online class tip are great.